Alice Cooper’s “Killer” lineup reunite for new album
As a teenager back in the early 70’s I was more than just an Alice Cooper fan. I was an Alice Cooper freak. I was a devoted disciple and my bedroom became like a shrine. It’s hard to imagine yourself back in a time when a man named Alice was so controversial, if not shocking for what it represented. I thought it was the coolest thing that most people didn’t get Alice Cooper in those early years. It became my self-appointed duty to enlighten the ignorant and battle the homophobic haters that ribbed me for being a fan of freaks and queers.
Even the Rock & Roll journalists of the day didn’t get it. I can remember an early 70’s review in Circus Magazine that compared Alice Cooper to David Bowie and referred to both as transvestites. Alice in particular took a lot of abuse from critics back then. Not really fitting the “Glam” mold ushered in by the likes of Bowie and Bolan, the Coop was hard to pigeon-hole. Maybe it was just because most glamsters were so dam pretty and Alice was anything but. Mainstream society just wasn’t ready for an ugly dude dressed up like a chick, wearing freakish makeup and expecting to be taken seriously as an artist. It seemed they couldn’t wrap their minds around the fact it was all just part of the show and these guys weren’t even gay!
My first concert ever, at the age of 16, was Alice Cooper at the Hollywood Bowl in 1972. It was a transformative event for me to say the least and it set a standard for pure over-the-top entertainment that has never since been equaled in my mind. They had Wolfman Jack, as the announcer, take the stage mounted on a camel and then later on a Harley. A helicopter buzzed the crowd and rained down thousands of disposable panties on us. There was a live street fight scene ala “Westside Story” with knives, hurled trash cans and broken bottles. A mock trial, sentencing and guillotining of Alice with very realistic apparatus played out to the lamenting strains of “dead babies” and “killer” as the grand finale!
So now, 41 years after Alice and original band members Neil Smith, Mike Bruce and Dennis Dunaway parted company, they have reunited to record together again. Glen Buxton, the bands original lead guitarist passed away in 1997 so it’s not a complete reunion. Ryan Roxie, Alice’s current lead player will fill in for Buxton.
The new album will feature tracks co-written by Alice, Neil and Mike and possibly a few penned by Dennis. While not an attempt to recapture lost youth, the new album is aiming to recapture the essence of their 4th studio album, 1971’s Killer. Alice is pragmatic enough to know they aren’t 20 something rockers anymore and admits “you can never go back and totally recapture it, but you can certainly look at the elements that made that album work the way it did.”
One thing I can say for myself......hearing a new record with those same players from the edgy, gender-bending years of “Pretties for You”, “Easy Action”, “Love it to Death”, “Killer”, “School’s Out” and “Billion Dollar Babies” ……is likely gonna recapture me a hunk of my own lost youth!
Published by Bill Hoover